Meet Dokkaebi – 5

The Dokkaebi’s Bangmangi and the Two Boys

Completely Oblivious to the Life Changing Events that will OccurOnce there was a boy from a poor family who went out everyday into the forest to chop firewood. He would return to town and sell it to buy a few scraps of food for his family. One afternoon he was out a bit later than usual and began to feel hungry, so he found a walnut tree.

First he stuffed his pockets with walnuts. One for father, one for his mother, one for his elder brother, and one for his elder sister. After he had collected enough nuts for his family, he ate his fill and picked a few extra walnuts for good measure.

By this time the sun was quickly setting and he knew he would not be able to reach home in time, so he made shelter in a wayside shrine. Oh, but the air felt eerie, so he climbed up into the rafters and dozed off.

At midnight a loud raucous woke the poor boy. Just underneath, a large group of Dokkaebi gathered in the shrine, talking their heads off. They described their exploits of the day to each other. One Dokkaebi hung on an ox tail all day, while another looked for a filial son, but had no success that day. One Dokkaebi had teased a naughty boy all day, while another jumped in ditches and blew bubbles in the mud. One Dokkaebi napped in the crevices of a stonewall, while another danced loudly under a floor. But one Dokkaebi had had enough chatter and declared it was time for a feast.

The boy watched as one Dokkaebi pulled it’s club from it’s belt and shouted, “Tudurak-tak-tak, come out food, come out drink!” and it hit the ground. No sooner had the action been done than food and drink appeared out of nowhere! The club was a Bangmangi, a wishing club! The boy continued his vigil of the Dokkaebi’s party as they ate and drank and danced and laughed. Ah, but seeing so much good food made the boy hungry too, so he pulled out some of the walnuts and began to crack them open with his teeth.

Ain't No Party Like A Dokkaebi Party

The Dokkaebi’s all heard the cracking sound and started screaming, “Help! The roof is going to collapse!” and they all fled the premise without a second thought. Well, the poor boy climbed down and, after eating his fill of the feast, found the Bangmangi. He decided to test it and said, “Tudurak-tak-tak, come out clothes!” and hit the ground. No sooner did he finish than a new set of fine clothes appeared.

The next morning the boy made it home. His parents were quite worried, afraid that a tiger might have devoured him, but once the boy told the story and demonstrated his new club they were elated, since now their financial worries were at an end.

But news travels fast, and soon the whole town knew about the story. The poor boy was good at keeping secrets when he had to, but one of his play mates, the son of a rich merchant, was able to pry the secret from him. Even though the rich boy never had to work a day in his life, he wanted his own Bangmangi, so as soon as he obtained all the details, he ran off into the forest. First thing he found a walnut tree, and being quite hungry he ate his fill. Then he stuffed his pockets, and, even though it was still midday, he ran straight to the shrine and climbed the rafters. There he dozed off, waiting for midnight.

Sure enough, the clamor of gossiping Dokkaebi woke him up and they started getting ready for their feast. The rich boy, seeing his prize in sight, did not let the Dokkaebi eat and drink before he popped a walnut in his mouth and cracked it as loud as he could between his teeth. Well, this time around the Dokkaebi were none too impressed and looked straight up at him and shouted, “You again! We won’t fall for that trick twice!” and then they quickly snatched up the hapless child.

The Dokkaebi deliberated the most suitable punishment for the infraction. His life was spared on account he was yet a boy, but they soon settled on a much more fun penalty. One Dokkaebi took his Bangmangi and cried, “Tudurak-tak-tak, tongue stretch out, one-hundred feet long!” and no sooner had it touched the boy’s tongue than it stretched and stretched until his tongue coiled on the ground, a hundred feet long! They duly kicked him out of the temple and sent him on his way home.

The rich boy struggled homeward, but couldn’t forge across the stream with his long tongue. So he stretched it across the water as a footbridge for others as penance for his selfish actions. Many people used tongue bridge that day, but one was smoking as he crossed and an ember fell on the boy’s tongue. The boy screamed and fell in the stream, and under the burden of his lengthy tongue, he began to drown.

Luckily, the formally poor boy was nearby and heard the scream. He ran to the stream and rescued the rich boy. Using his club he said, “Tudurak-tak-tak, Tongue go back!” and the rich boy’s tongue returned to its normal self. From thence on, the rich boy never did anything selfish again.

A well fed, well liquored dokkaebi is a happy dokkaebi.

3 thoughts on “Meet Dokkaebi – 5

    1. I’m getting them from various sources, some I’ve heard word of mouth, but mostly books (in English and Korean). I am rewriting them in my own voice, but in the future I’ll be adding sources for where I originally found the stories, not to mention I’ll include a full bibliography of source material for those who are interested.

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